Interfaith Dialog with Muslims?

From the American Catholic site:

I would encourage folks to engage the thought of Miroslav Volf, Robert Louis Wilken and Peter Kreeft on our topic. Recently Miroslav Volf has been interviewed about his new book on Islam. These interviews are very much worth checking out. Refer to it below.

A Voice across the Great Chasm: An Interview with Miroslav Volf

Meet Miroslav Volf, whose ‘Allah’ is a path to peace

Also don’t miss out on Robert Louis Wilken’s award winning FT article if you haven’t read it yet.

FIRST THINGS – Christianity Face to Face with Islam by Robert Louis Wilken

In my previous post below (Alliance of Civilizations or Clash of Civilizations?) I linked to Peter Kreeft’s work on this topic.

Related Posts:

Fr. Richard J. Neuhaus on Islam and Reform

Alliance of Civilizations or Clash of Civilizations?

What is the meaning of existence?

The Ground Zero Mosque And Religious Freedom (4 Parts)

Muhammad’s myopic view of Jesus was fundamentally flawed.

The Qur’an (Quran, Kuran, Koran, Coran or al-Qur’ān), the religious text ostensibly revealed to Muhammad by “Allah” through the angel “Jibril”, is considered by Muslims to be the “final revelation” of ‘Allah”. In it, we find fables about various persons who are also mentioned in the Torah and in the Christian New Testament. Among them is “Isa”, who Muslims claim is Jesus.

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Islam needs to emerge from its’ self-imposed “dark ages” and join the world community.


The days of Muslim Conquest
and the Crusades are behind us.

by Doug Lawrence

Islam claims to be a religion of peace, but so long as Islam continues to harbor terrorists and murderers within its’ ranks, and so long as Islam appears to officially support various types of revenge and brutal discrimination, under the false guise of Sharia and Jihad, few non-Muslims are ever likely to take Islam seriously, as a true world religion … let alone, a religion of peace.

Muslim Sharia Law is an only slightly modified version of the old Mosaic Law of the Jews. The Law actually worked pretty well in the harsh living environment of nomadic desert dwellers … and it should have … since it was originally given to the Israelites by God (Allah) for that express purpose. But when impressed on modern-day urban citizenry by certain fundamentalist Imams, Sharia can easily take on the look and feel of brute totalitarianism.

All of current-day Islam’s inherent violence and its’ serious denials/abuses of personal freedom make Islam look very unappealing and even frightening to the common man. And that should not come as a surprise, to anyone.

I’m betting that the promoters of true Islam can make a logical case for many/most of their fundamental beliefs and practices, but there’s no way they can ever do the same for violent Jihad and brutal, religious persecution and discrimination … simply because that type of behavior is essentially an unjust, corrupt aberration … and it was never a part of original, authentic Islam.

The days of the Crusades are behind us. The world (except apparently, for certain Muslims, and a few others) has moved on. Now, it’s high time for the true leaders of the Islamic world to get together, universally reject violence and terrorism, disown and shun those who can’t or won’t change their Medieval ways, and finally, join the modern family of nations, in peace.

Father John Hardon, S.J.: A Primer On Islam

Doctrine and worship in the Koran

Islam is a glomeration of sects and traditions that bewilder the Western mind. Yet after thirteen centuries, the followers of Mohammed are somehow united and their unity traceable to a common devotion to the Koran. It is the duty of every Moslem, man, woman, or child, to read the Koran and understand it according to his capacity. There runs through the book a consistent body of doctrine and of practical obligations which has remained in all ages the inspiration of the Muslim religion.

Unexpectedly, the famous Shahada or profession of faith, “There is but one God, and Mohammed is the Apostle of God,” nowhere occurs as such in the Koran. The nearest equivalent, often called the Islamic Credo, is found in the surah of Women: “You who believe, believe in God and His apostle, and the Book which He revealed to His apostle, and the Book which he revealed to those before him. Whoever denies God and His angels and His books and His apostle and the day of judgment has strayed far away from the truth.”1

While the Koran itself is central, three other sources of Islamic doctrine and practice are recognized by orthodox Moslems: tradition or Qunnah, community agreement or igmah, and the principle of analogy called gijas.

Tradition as a source of revelation is co-equal with the Koran in binding power and authority. It consists of all the sayings, explicit or implicit, of Mohammed, which he did not personally set down in the Koran.

Consensus of believers is more difficult to define and has occasioned endless dispute and schism. But in theory it means that whenever a sizeable portion of the Moslem faithful agrees on some cardinal issue of doctrine or ritual, this becomes part of the creedal structure of Islam.

The method of analogy finds special application in the field of morals and conduct, where a new situation is evaluated by comparison with a similar one in the past. Understandably the principle of gijas lends itself to arbitrary interpretation and, in fact, has been the cause of grave tension and conflict in Moslem jurisprudence.

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Additional articles on Islam

Is it true that the late Pope John Paul II once publicly kissed the Koran?


Q: Is it true that the late Pope John Paul II once publicly kissed the Koran (Muslim Holy Book)? What can we infer from this?

A: Yes he did, as the above photo shows. As for inferring the pope’s intentions or motives, this 1985 address to a group of Muslim Moroccan youth provides a good idea of the pope’s position on the Islamic faith:

“Christians and Muslims, we have many things in common, as believers and as human beings. We live in the same world, marked by many signs of hope, but also by multiple signs of anguish. For us, Abraham is a very model of faith in God, of submission to his will and of confidence in his goodness. We believe in the same God, the one God, the living God, the God who created the world and brings his creatures to their perfection.

It is therefore towards this God that my thought goes and that my heart rises: it is of God himself that, above all, I wish to speak with you; of him, because it is in him that we believe, you Muslims and we Catholics. I wish also to speak with you about human values, which have their basis in God, these values which concern the blossoming of our person, as also that of our families and our societies, as well as that of the international community. The mystery of God, is it not the highest reality from which depends the very meaning which man gives to his life? And is it not the first problem that presents itself to a young person, when he reflects upon the mystery of his own existence and on the values which he intends to choose in order to build his growing personality?”

Read the full text from the Vatican website

This approach makes a lot of sense, based on the official Catholic Church teaching regarding Islam (and other, non-Christian faiths.) From the Catechism:

The Church and non-Christians

839 “Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways.”325

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 “the first to hear the Word of God.”327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God’s revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews “belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ”,328 “for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”329

840 And when one considers the future, God’s People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims. “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”330

842 The Church’s bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

Islam indoctrination in U.S. textbooks allows teachers to force students to “be” Muslim

ISLAM INDUCTION IN OUR TEXTBOOKS

Houghton Mifflin’s “Across the Centuries” underwent multiple revisions led by Nader F. Darehshori, CEO, previously a school teacher in Iran. In the Islam section among other practices, our children are asked to assume they are Muslim soldiers. In the Jewish section, the ONLY imagination practice is to imagine they are with the Jews when they were conquered and forced to live away from their homeland. In the Christian section, the ONLY imagination practice was to imagine being in the buried catacombs of the dead Christians. (Christians/body of Christ back in the tomb, how symbolic).

For a while, Houghton Mifflin posted denials that the Council of Islamic Education contributed to the textbook. But then articles quoting Abigail Jungreis, Editorial Director of HM were found on Muslim sites applauding their input, especially information about the Crusades…so for the Christian section our children are given the Crusades from the Muslim perspective. Meanwhile the Islam section states:

  1. “In fact, the very first word the angel Gabriel spoke to Muhammad was recite.” (in fact?)
  2. “These revelations confirmed both Muhammad’s belief in one God, and his role as the last messenger in a long line of prophets sent by God.”
  3. “Muhammad’s revelations occurred from 610 until his death…”
  4. “The Quran is the final revelation, just as Muhammad is the final prophet.”
  5. “Ramadan is a holy time, because in this month Muhammad received his first message from Allah.”
  6. “Arabic lettering had a special significance for Muslims, because it was used to write down God’s words as they had been given to Muhammad.”
  7. “The courtyard and Mosque allowed Muslims to feel Allah’s invisible presence whether they were inside or outside the Mosque.”
  8. “This caliph, Muslims realized, could not give the same kind of spiritual leadership as Muhammad had. The new caliph would not be the prophet of Allah, as Muhammad had been.”

HM denied implying acceptance of Muhammad’s mission as the prophet when a section was headed with “THE LIFE OF THE PROPHET” and listed him as prophet 42 times!

To the average Christian, facts about Jesus in the Christian section seem merely watered down. But if you study Islam you would realize that what is written about Jesus is what Islam believes about Jesus.

These are some of the reasons that Texas has taken a stand about curriculum. Texas is the 2nd largest block in the market and textbook publishers listen. But California is number one and is currently passing laws blocking Texas changes. I urge everyone to contact your state legislators and ask them to do to California what California has done to Texas. Let the textbook publishers know your state condemns the insanity that California has imposed. Do not let California remain on the throne of public education. I live in California. For the love of God, protect your children.

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Attacks in Malaysia designed to ‘annihilate’ Christians, warns Vatican official

Rome, Italy, Jan 11, 2010 / 12:59 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples said last week that the recent attacks against Christians in Malaysia are designed to annihilate and reject “those who believe in Christ.”

The archbishop made his statements on Vatican Radio after Muslim extremists firebombed four Christian churches on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The attacks came after a controversy over whether to allow Catholics to use the term “Allah,” a traditional Malay word, in referring to the Christian God.

Archbishop Sarah also pointed out that “the fact that it has been forbidden to say the name of God is like considering them (Christians) to be pagans and therefore ‘in need’ of converting to Islam. That’s what is behind this,” he said.

“We must pray for these Christians who live in Muslim lands and suffer greatly,” the archbishop concluded.